The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

time traveler's wife

Grade: B+

Doing it at: 4%

Catnip: Real Book; Pillow Weeper; The 90’s; Dual Narrative; Soulmates; Time Travel

Shame Scale: No shame, you could read this book anywhere with no shade, I think it might even be endorsed by Oprah.

Fantasy Cast: Eric Bana; Rachel McAdams 

Book Description:

This is the story of Henry and Clare, who have known each other since Clare was 6 and Henry was 36 and were married when Clare was 20 and Henry 28. This is possible only because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he flashes to other points in time.

Mary was pretty shocked to discover that I had neither read The Time Traveler’s Wife nor seen the movie. She was sure I would love it, and I think she considers it required romance reading, as it may have been one of her gateway books. She presented me with a paper copy (a rarity since we read 97% Kindle now)with the caveat that I might want to stock up on Kleenex. Who doesn’t like to be devastated by a book?

This is the story of Henry and Clare, Henry meets Clare in 1991. Clare meets Henry in 1977. She meets grown up Henry, traveling back in time to visit with his wife, well before she was his wife (because she was six). Confused a little? Its kind of a science fiction book, in the sense that there is time traveling and some shaky science involved. But it is definitely a romance in the sense that Henry and Clare are madly in love and meeting each other all over time. Continue reading

Sated: A Dark Romance, by Charity Parkerson

Sated

Grade: C

Doing it at: 17%

Catnip: This Shit is Bananas; Threesome; Foursome; WTF; Rock Stars; Hot Cop; Multiple Timelines; Butt Stuff; Team Anal

Shame Scale: High, high shame.

Fantasy Cast: Just pick a hot band of guys and sandwich in a virginal blonde.

What do we taste like: Innocence. “Like ambrosia — sweet and citrusy”

What does he smell like: Spicy chocolate

Book Description:

(Dark Romance, F/M and M/M scenes, Rock Star Romance, Ménage, Sexy Detective, Alpha Male, Supernatural themes)

“Losing her mind wasn’t an experience she enjoyed.”

After a steamy night of passion with a dark stranger, Arbor’s life takes on a surreal edge. Disturbing dreams, lapses in memory, and entire buildings going missing are only a few of her problems. Her search for answers leads her to Detective Trey Murphy, the man in charge of investigating satanic and ritualistic crime for the New Orleans area.

Where do you turn when your mind is the enemy?

Meeting Trey only adds to Arbor’s confusion. By day, he keeps her captivated and gains her trust in a way no one else ever has. At night, Arbor’s every fantasy is brought to life by two sexy men who steal away her inhibitions. Torn between what her heart knows is real and what her eyes show her, Arbor must find the truth before she loses herself completely.

But, then again, sometimes reality is more twisted than any dream and love is the cruelest form of insanity.

**Author Note**

Warning: This isn’t your typical love story. It’s dark with scenes some may find disturbing. Sometimes love is senseless, and the heart is so very stupid.

We requested an ARC of this book, because: cover, description. I was assuming we’d get some bananas shit, because that guy in the middle looks like a zombie. But after reading, I think it was probably just bad graphic design that has him looking like a corpse compared to the fleshy stock photo models (and possible Jensen Ackles?) behind him. That’s not to say this book wasn’t bananas though. Because it definitely was.

This book switches back and forth between different perspectives and timelines. We open in a bar, while Killian watches Arbor reject the advances of Trey. He decides to approach her, and they have a hot, deja vu connection. Killian excuses himself to go join the band, because of course he’s in a band. He has tattooed on eyeliner and that sounds ridiculously unattractive to me, just saying. Some kind of fight or riot breaks out in the bar, and Killian and his hot bandmate Lyric (with tousled blonde hair, no eyeliner tattoos) escort her out of the bar through some kind of underground tunnel? None of this made any sense, and it’s never really explained.

Killian takes Arbor back to her apartment, and they pretty much immediately jump into some over-the-top analingus. It’s just that kind of book.

“Has anyone ever eaten your ass?” he asked, pushing up her shirt as he spoke. She didn’t respond. It didn’t matter. He already knew the answer.

….

“When my fingers are buried in your sex and my tongue is fucking your puckered strawberry, you’re going to feel fuller than you ever have before. But I promise you, it won’t be the last time.”

….

“Her arousal filled his lungs, feeding his darkest desires.”

For the record: points deducted for use of puckered strawberry.

Killian leaves afterwards, and the next day when Arbor goes back to the bar, all she finds a vacant lot. At this point the book gets pretty bat shit, switching back and forth between multiple timelines, points of view, buildings appearing, disappearing. Arbor starts seeing Trey, a detective, while also dating Killian and Lyric. She is having all sorts of flashbacks and dreams, while Killian and Lyric seem to know all about her.

There’s a twist, and it’s pretty easy to guess, but I’m not going to give it away. The plot went from bonkers to wrapped up in about a chapter, and I felt like the story itself could have been much more developed. And really, while there is a pretty decent original plot in this one, it’s more noteworthy for being one of the kinkier books I’ve read in awhile: Threesomes in a restaurant bathrooms with upright DP. Foursomes with some pretty fluid sexuality. Solid B level doing it, but the plot and writing needed work. If there was a sequel, I’d be curious enough to read it.

Buy on Amazon:

Ugly Love, by Colleen Hoover

Ugly Love

Grade: A+

Doing it at: 36%

Catnip: Hot Pilot; Hot Neighbor; Sympathetic Ex; Deep Dark Secret; Just Benefits, No Friends; Emotional Unavailability; Multiple Timelines; Dual Narrative

Shame scale: Only the tiniest bit of shame, because it’s a romance and my dad would never read it. But It has writing, and plot, and will make you feel things!

Fantasy casting: Nick Bateman, duh (Originally I went with my old standby, Tom Hardy); Candice Accola

What do we taste like: “I hope you taste like orange juice again.” Dead, Miles has killed us dead.

Book Description:

“When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn’t think it’s love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past. 
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated. 
Promises get broken. 
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.”

In honor of the new teaser trailer for the upcoming Ugly Love movie, Cleone and I thought it was time to take advantage of our weekend of joint stomach plague recovery and go back and do a re-read of one of our most favorite romances of all time. First, let’s all take a minute and watch this a few dozen a few times:

That trailer has 300,000 views, and 250,000 of them our ours, approximately.

C: I’m reading in bed until it’s time to go. My kids needed enforced down time. I need Miles

M: You should watch that trailer again.

C: Like I fucking haven’t ten times.


Tate is a nursing student who has moved into her pilot brother’s apartment while she finishes school and gets a job, he lives in a swanky apartment building that is mainly inhabited by hot, single pilots. The night she arrives, Miles, his across the hall Hot Pilot neighbor friend, is passed out against the door she needs to get in to. Her brother asks her to let him sleep it off on the couch, so she drags him in the apartment. He ends up drunkenly and heartrendingly sobbing about someone named Rachel, and Tate girl-comforts him to sleep. In the morning, Miles comes into her room with no recollection of how he ended up on Corbin’s couch, why his hand hurts so bad, and who this surly girl is. Drunken crying Miles was kind of an improvement over this sober Miles who insinuates that Tate is acting like a bitch because they hooked up the night before. Tate is sleepy and not having it and tells Miles, hey maybe we can start over after I wake up and you pull your head out of your ass (I’m paraphrasing). So, Miles does, he reintroduces himself -without much warmth –  and Tate wishes that he wasn’t so cute or big or crushable.

You might be asking yourself who this Rachel is that stone-cold Miles was crying inconsolably over; here is our back story, presented in rotating chapters. Miles chapters are set six years before, and we meet him on the day he meets Rachel. A new girl at his high school who he meets his senior year and falls very quickly in love with. Only to discover that his dad is dating her mom (they moved from Phoenix so her mom could be with his dad) and that their relationship is now forbidden. Of course that doesn’t stop them, they’re young, they’re in love, and they feel invincible together. Plus WE all know that stepsibling romances are very de rigueur.

Miles and Tate don’t have a ton of intimate time together, with her being busy and him being out of town/ closed off emotionally like Whoa, until Corbin invites him to come home to Thanksgiving with them. On the car ride there, Miles wraps his hand around Tate’s foot and I can’t explain why this is crazy sexy but trust us that it IS. Tate thinks so too. Her crush on Miles is getting pretty out of hand. Also crazy hot? Miles and Tate making out in her childhood kitchen when she ventures downstairs for orange juice. Miles may not have had sex in six years (that’s right SIX, a bomb dropped during dinner when Corbin tells his family he thought Miles was gay. SIX YEARS) but the boy knows how to kiss. Miles doesn’t want to want her, because he never wants to fall in love or have a relationship again. Tate wants his body too much to care:

“Listen to me, Miles. You’re single. I’m single. You work way too much, and I’m focused on my career in an almost unhealthy way. Even if we wanted a relationship out of this, it would never work. Our lives wouldn’t fit one. We also aren’t really friends, so we don’t have to worry about our friendship being ruined. You want to have sex with me? I’ll totally let you. A lot.”

Girl, I feel you.

Miles tells her (paraphrasing) that he’ll bang her tons, as long as she follows the rules: “Don’t ask about my past, and never expect a future.” Tate is a smart girl, and realizes the folly in making a promise like that, but he’s broody and hot, so she lies, and is all, “Sure. Definitely won’t be a problem.”

I absolutely don’t like either of those rules. They both make me want to change my mind about this arrangement and run away, but instead, I’m nodding. I’m nodding because I’ll take what I can get. I’m not Tate when I’m near Miles. I’m liquid, and liquid doesn’t know how to be firm or stand up for itself.

They start bringing the plane into the hangar every time Miles is in town. Tons. It doesn’t take long for things to get murky, when Miles is out of town pilot-ing he never calls or texts Tate. It’s like she ceases to exist the second that he can’t see her. There is also no sleeping over, no talking about the future, nothing that could be coined a “date,” but feelings are happening regardless of Miles’ stupid rules. The closest they come to a date is when Miles asks Tate to come with him to pick out some home furnishings, and when they get back, Miles is all, “I just bought this new rug. I think we should fuck on it.”

Tate thinks about Miles all the time, when she imagines ending things it hurts too much to even contemplate. So, she amends the rules to add one of her own, telling Miles to just not give her hope. She can’t end things even when her brain is telling her to run before she falls any further. Even when her older brother catches the two of them together and get Miles to admit that he doesn’t even plan to fall in love with her. That he CAN’T. Tate is breaking our hearts six ways from Sunday.

I don’t tell him to go. I shake my head. “I can’t.”

I turn my face toward his just as he’s worked his way up to my mouth, then I grab his shirt and pull him to me, knowing exactly what I’m doing to myself. I know this time won’t end any prettier than the other times, but I still want it just as much. If not more.

The back story of Miles and Rachel and WHY Miles is such an emotional trainwreck unfurls slowly, and no one is saying that his reasoning isn’t sad. But oh do we disagree with Rachel’s actions and rage at her existence.

M: I hate stupid Rachel.

C: I hate her more than I hate villains in other books because we’re supposed to sympathize with her

M: Rachel is the worst. She is ruining my life.

I think what we loved about this book, is that Hoover writes characters that seem like real people, Tate isn’t some one dimensional bimbo and Miles is frustrating but he has layers, like an onion (or a parfait). It’s easy to picture yourself in the story. Like, when we read a ridiculous stepbrother romance, it’s fun, but the characters are just like puppets created to bang for 200 pages. These characters make you lose yourself in them, and you feel the emotions and agony they’re going through. And the will they won’t they RE: Miles admitting he loves Tate is so well done. And the sex is early, frequent, and hot, of course.


Also: Does anyone have a million dollars Cleone can borrow? We saw this incredible offer on the Ugly Love Movie Indigogo campaign, and we were all, “I’m just gonna go find a cash machine.” I mean, Nick Bateman. It’s not like we all haven’t stalked his Instagram locations map to pinpoint his Canadian apartment and tossed around the idea of a road trip like crazy stalkers, right? (Really though. You should probably turn off your location services, Nick.)

M: I FOUND YOUR BAR BABY DADDY

“$1000000 USD Nick Bateman’s Child Change Perk All of the above, plus Nick Bateman will father your child. Think we’re kidding? We’re not…. (Executive Producer credit included)”

C: Fuck.

Let’s put it on the work credit card.

M: $1,000,000 is pretty cheap, if you think about it

C: Do you think he would wear that captain’s hat?

Check it out on Amazon:

Burying Water, by K.A. Tucker

burying water

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 38%, but not again till 64%

Catnip: Amnesia; Multiple Timelines; Russian Mobsters; Dangerous Criminal Villain; Hot Cars; Cheating; Dual Narrative; Hot Car

Shame scale: Beige. There’s a plot, decent writing, not much doing it. The cover looks YA, so that’s got to be a tiny bit shame-y

Fantasy casting: Ten years ago Milo Ventimiglia, Hayden Panettiere

Book description: 

“Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him? Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried. The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.”

Burying Water starts out with Jesse finding a girl beaten almost to death in the snow in the middle of nowhere. The rest of the book is told from Jesse’s perspective in the past and Alex’s in the present. We pick up with Alex in the hospital, where she wakes up with horrible injuries and total amnesia – no idea who she is, no memories of her life at all. She makes friends with her doctor (Jesse’s mom) while she is recuperating, and when it is time for her to leave, her doctor sets her up in an apartment on their next door neighbor’s property. Alex begins building a new life, but struggles to know who she was Before. We know that Jesse clearly has a history with her, (from the past storyline chapters), but we don’t know why he’s keeping her life a secret from her.

Meanwhile, in the past – Jesse meets Alex – a sad, beautiful woman who is married to an awful Russian mobster. Jesse is a mechanic, and Alex’s husband hires him to fix up some kind of impressive classic car (that meant pretty much nothing to me because car speak is gobbledygook). While he works on the car, he gets to know Alex, sees how unhappy she is with her scary husband (who is indiscreetly indiscretion-ing), and the two begin an affair.

Neither of these characters really stood out to me in a big way. Jesse seemed like a nice twenty-something guy who falls for a girl, but he’s almost passive about the whole thing. He sees that Alex’s husband is abusing her, but he does nothing to fix the situation. When she cuts off contact with him, he doesn’t chase her. Jesse in the present was much more appealing to me, but his rationale for keeping Alex in the dark (about her whole identity!) felt shaky to me at best. And Alex…was kind of weak. She felt like a generic nice girl, who married a mobster but honestly didn’t see what an asshole he was until well into the marriage?

This one started out really strong for me. I was texting Cleone that I found a great book she absolutely HAD to read. All the catnip was there: Multiple timelines, Russian mobsters, cute boy with a hot car, danger, freaking AMNESIA… But things started to drag towards the middle of the book. While the plot seemed to have a lot of potential mystery, all of the questions were pretty easy to guess the answers to. I felt like they gave too much away. And when the big reveal happened and Alex found out who she was and that everyone had been lying to her, she accepted it pretty quickly and they wrapped up everything with a big bow. By the end of the book, I started skimming, because everything felt like a recap of the first half of the book. The main conflict towards the end of the book was Jesse recapping the events that led up to Alex’s beating, and that was all information you could pretty much infer from the first half of the book.

It was a good story, interesting format, and overall, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. Like I said, the characters felt weak, and things dragged a bit, then wrapped up too neatly. As a shame read, it was pretty beige (like this review, HA!). Nothing made me blush. K.A. Tucker is a great writer, none of the dialog made me eye-roll. Very little sex, and vanilla at that. I’d recommend this one if you could get it out of the library or borrow it from a friend.

Amazon